Vineyard Sonnet

It was with great pleasure that I read the recent announcement regarding who would be judging the 2012 Wine Blog Awards. It is a great roster of talent, and the presence and commitment of such a litany of luminaries seems certain to guarantee a rigorous, informed, and passionate judging process.

On a personal level, it was particularly nice to see a few good friends on the list; individuals who I admire greatly, and who are great contributors to the worlds of wine, and wine writing. Among them are Amy Cleary, Jo Diaz, and Richard Jennings. And of course, my old friend Lenn Thompson, who actually technically gave me my first wine writing job.

Back in the mid-oughts, I was working as the Operations Manager for a vineyard on the North Shore of Long Island, and as such, I was of course very familiar with what was then known as It was essentially THE New York wine blog. The site is now known as The New York Cork Report, and it is one of the most influential, groundbreaking, paradigm-shifting, and important wine sites out there. It was quite successful back then as well, though I think it is safe to say its greatest successes were certainly still to come.

Anyhow, I met Lenn at a time when, in addition to my Operations Manager duties in the wine industry, I was also working on what would become my first published collection of poetry, and in a wonderful gesture of support and synergy, Lenn offered me the position of Poet Laureate of I accepted with delight, humility, and excitement, and immediately began working on trying to produce wine-themed poetry for his site.

I ended up contributing a fair amount of work by the end of it all, and I was quite pleased with a great many of the pieces, as, I hope, was Lenn.

In the aftermath of seeing Lenn’s name on the judges list, I’ve been reflecting a bit on my time as “Wine Blog Poet Laureate” in New York, and it is in that spirit that I wish to offer the following …

Old-Vine Zinfandel at the Ponzo Vineyards in Russian River Valley

(photo courtesy of Lytton Springs Viticulturist Will Thomas)

Vineyard Sonnet

As the warm yolk of mid-morning sky gently beats back

the cool pewter of dawn, one can feel a dry tickle in the air

like the onset of an allergy that announces, with a breath,

that the season is a-changin’.


With the unexpected rains of the past disappearing

into the echoed annals of memory, the summer now looms before us

in all its hot and arid intensity. We wonder, will the hundreds hit

the thermometer this July, and do any more surprises yet remain?


Emerging from two years of challenge,

we can’t help but be nervous now

about the abnormal normality of the times.

We wait, we watch, and we hope.


This, the partnership with Mother Nature;

one of the stranger business models.

I wish the judges all the luck in the world as they delve into the rich contemporary canon of wine writing available in bloglandia; there is a tremendous amount of quality writing to be found out there, and amidst all the analysis, the tasting notes, the points and ratings, there is also, dare I say it, a good bit of poetry as well.

Categories: RIDGE Staff, Varietals & Blends, Vineyards, Wine & Poetry, Zinfandel

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